The 2022 edition of the Digital Africa Conference & Exhibition scheduled to hold between June 28 and 30,2022, at the Baze University, Jabi, Abuja, themed: “Positioning Africa in the global tech race,” has been touted to position Africa in the global race to achieve technological development.
The exhibition, the 10th in the series, widely adjudged as a premier continental technology show, began in 2013 as a result of the discovery by the organisers that there is a huge, unacceptable gap in ICT and development between the African continent and the rest of the world.
Nigeria’s Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Pantami in 2021 commended the organisers of the annual event for their steadfastness saying: “The consistency with which you have organised this event attests to your commitment towards accelerating the development of Africa’s technology ecosystem.”
Explaining further why the annual conference was initiated, the chairman of the organisers Digital Africa, Dr. Evans Woherem said: “In the 1960s when most of us were growing up, we thought we could remedy the situation through education. As a result of that, a lot of us went abroad to study to go get the ‘Golden Fleece’ and bring it back home.
“We felt that by now most of our countries should either be developed or have advanced to a certain, respectable level globally. But, when we look at the way things are in almost all African countries, you see that, truly, we are lagging in development.”
Woherem said that it has been established that there is no development, no high standard of living without a commensurate level of development in technology and, in today’s world, no one or country can hope to become advanced in technology without first advancing in development and the use of technology.
“From whichever way you look at it, Information Technology is very vital and pivotal for whatever countries want to do to achieve development. It is for this reason that some of us came together, not solely from Nigeria but from the United Kingdom, Germany, Kenya and Cameroon to put up Digital Africa.
“Digital Africa Conference & Exhibition is about enabling Africa to bridge the gap which exists with the rest of the World. Today, some companies and countries are already winners when it comes to IT, while others are losers.
“The losers are merely countries in Africa [and] the winners are those developed countries in Europe, America and [recently] in Asia and even South America. They are the winners in the evolving technology we have today.
“Something needs to be done – and urgently, too – for us to bridge the gap. So far, Africa has been a consumer continent when it comes to IT. We just sit and consume some – not even all – of what is being produced in other parts of the world.
“The IT systems that we are going to use in the next 30 to 40 years are already being fabricated in the laboratories of countries in the West and some other countries like China, India and so on. Here in Africa, we are not doing much. Even in creating content in IT, Africa lags behind the rest of the world.”
Woherem recalled that Africa missed out on development in the first, second and third industrial revolutions, but advised that the Fourth Industrial Revolution will be a great opportunity for the continent to leverage and become a global technology force.
“Africa should not just be a consumer continent but a developer continent, too. It’s about time Africa takes its development seriously. Those ahead of us are running as if they are on steroids and we that are running behind are so slow, bedevilled by malaria. For us to catch up with those ahead of us, we must find a way to run faster than they are. That’s what we need to do.
“Digital Africa is a conference whose choice topics can speak to people and motivate them into action. As a result, the world now looks up to this annual event. When you are there, you are going to see a lot of new things,” Woherem assured.
The conference has, over the last nine years, hosted ICT professionals, enthusiasts, policy-makers, innovators, teachers and students of ICT from all walks of life.